www.000webhost.com
Amazing Book Store
Product Image

Book Name: The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War

Author: David Gates

$ 15.67


  • Fast Delivery

  • Secure Payment

  • +61 414 079 535
Overall Rating: (4.43/5) View all reviews (total 7 reviews)
Description

In 1808, on the Iberian peninsula, Napoleon began a six-year war of attrition against Spain and its British and Portuguese allies. Expecting a quick victory, the French emperor instead found himself facing a strong foe (led by Britain's Duke of Wellington), including popular opposition in the form of guerrilla bands, and constant supply and communications problems. In this thorough military history, Gates, a university lecturer in Scotland, offers a battle-by-battle account of the war in its various theaters, with maps and other illustrations. His descriptions of the brutal fighting on barren terrain are clear and balanced, making this a valuable modern view of the conflict. He likens the "Spanish Ulcer," as the ultimately devastating defeat of Napoleon was called, to the present-day Soviet attempt to impose rule against the popular will in Afghanistan. History Book Club selection.Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Reviews

Excellent Campaign Study of the Peninsular War

by Aussie Reader "Rick"
(5/5)

If you only want to a have one book on the Peninsular War, this is it. This is a great account of the battles and campaigns fought in Spain & Portugal during the Napoleonic Wars. In over 550 pages of text the author, David Gates, offers the reader a detailed account of the fighting with a non-bias point of view. He offers assessments of the opposing Generals and their forces and covers the political and social background of the times.The only fault I could find with this book would be the standard of the maps. They are sufficient in number and assist the reader in following the fighting but could have been of a better quality and detail. The author also provides a number of B&W photographs. Overall this is one of the best single volume accounts on this subject and well worth the time to read."Using French & Spanish as well as British material, he presents the first brief and balanced account of the war to have appeared within our generation. As the first work of a new young military historian it is a major achievement, and I hope that we shall see many more from his pen". - Michael Howard, Oxford UniversityJust for information the book was first published in 1986 and the author was a Lecturer at the Centre for Defence Studies at the University of Aberdeen.


A one volume history of the Peninsular War

by D. S. Thurlow
(4/5)

David Gates' "The Spanish Ulcer" provides one of the very few single volume histories of the Peninsular War that attempts to address the entire conflict and not focus on, for example, the exploits of the Anglo-Portuguese Army. Gates addresses the actions of the Imperial French, the struggles of the Spanish politicians, armies and guerillas, and the fiasco of Portugal prior to the British intervention. That Gates manages to do in one volume what Charles Oman required seven volumes to cover is, however, both a strength and a weakness. On the one hand, students of the era now have a single reasonably comprehensive summary of the Peninsular War phase. On the other hand, of necessity, much of the detail of a very complex conflict is compressed, while the narrative tends to jump from place to place. Some advance knowledge of the conflict is almost required to make sense of the many moving parts. Unfortunately, the maps provided in the text are not well designed and more confusing than helpful. Readers are advised to track the action on their own large map of the Iberian Peninsula. This book is strongly recommended to those with an interest in the Peninsular War but not the time or energy to work through the longer studies.


Best strategic overview of the Spanish campaign

by lordhoot "lordhoot"
(5/5)

David Gates' book is probably the best book on the subject of the eight year Spanish campaign that helped defeat Napoloen and his French Empire. The book proves to be superbly well written and very easy to read. Its a history book on general regular war in Spain, looking closely at battles and individual campaigns which made up this war. As one of the earlier reviewers wrote that it really doesn't go into that much details about politics, people or guerillas. I supposed for an one volume book, there probably isn't enough pages to due justice if Gates spread out too thinly. With this in mind, this book with its extremely readable writing, should be part of every Napoleonic library.


Somewhat Revisionist Account

by Roger Kennedy "International Military Music S...
(4/5)

This is a well constructed book on the Peninsular War. Indeed, to find any single, readable volume on this subject that attempts to cover all its aspects is great. Many books tend to concentrate on just Wellington's campaigns and the activities of the Anglo-Portugease army. Mr. Gates has noted that tendency and has tried to correct it. In doing so however, he has taken a rather highly critical approach. Whereas many earlier books were lavish in their praise of Wellington, Gates goes the opposite way. While it is good to provide a fair perspective, and this subject has certainly required that in English, Gates leans too much toward the revisionist set with his heavy criticism of Wellington. At times it seems that he almost wants to go out of his way to find fault with the Iron Duke.That aside, this is still a worthwhile work if the reader takes understands the bias here. Gates descriptions of what the Spanish armies were doing fills in a lot of gaps on the subject. While often seen as imcompetent in most earlier English sources, the Spanish none the less kept the French off balance. Time and again the French would defeat them, and time and again, the Spanish would return to the fight with new armies. This was a major factor in preventing the French from concentrating against Wellington.The battles themselves are crisply done, but often a little too heavy on single vollies taking down hundreds if not thousands of men during some of the actions. I think Gates gets a little carried away with himself there at times. Single vollies rarely accomplished this, but a series of them could over time. There are workable maps provided for most of the actions and campaigns, and while some of these are wanting in professional look, they do at least allow one to follow the action somewhat.The main stength of this work is its wider perspective. We get to see what the numerous Spainish arimes were doing, as well as get a better understanding of what the French were up against in Iberia. I agree with Gates when he states that under the harsh circumstances of the French losing roughly a 100 men a day during the occupation, it is remarkable that they lasted as long as they did. This the book helps us to understand.Overall this is a workmanlike study, easy to read, and with nice details of aspects not often covered in the numerous works on this subject. If one allows for the often blatant anti-Wellington revisionist slant, then there is much good that can come out of reading this work and comparing it to Weller's and Glover's books.


A stunning work of Military History

by Sailoil
(5/5)

Most military history books quickly become embedded in politics and economics, and in the process fail to complete their analysis of the military aspects of the history.In this book Gates has maintained his focus all the way through the book, on the Military campaigns. Any politics or economics are introduced only to explain logistical difficulties or broad trends in strategic direction.In most English focused histories Wellington is portrayed as some kind of superman who went out to Spain and roundly defeated one French army after another. Gates shows how far this is from the actual truth. He highlights the crucial role played by Peninsular forces, who fielded one army after another to keep the French busy. He demonstrates how the partisan guerilla war prevented the French from concentrating against Wellington to drive him out.At the same time he demonstrates just why Wellington was the greatest soldier of his age. How he used intelligence and patience as his weapons. How he always selected his preferred battleground to gain maximum advantage against the French, who were after all, masterful foes. Wellington was the master of Soult, Ney and Massena, but not by much. He admitted that he would have lost if Napolean had been there himself.Gates lavishes praise on the abilities of the French to survive in the harsh environment of the Peninsula, and at the same time extolls the mastery of the British use of naval support to outflank their gallic rivals.From an Irish perspective it is interesting to note the large number of Irish named Generals fighting for the Spanish, the English and the French. Blake, Clarke, O'Donnell, Lacy and O'Neill to name only a few.If I had any criticism of this book it would be on the way maps are presented. You always have to check which way is north. I prefer when North is the top of the page! Otherwise the large numbers of maps of all scales are a very useful tool in interpretation of the movements in the battles.Gates is also helpful in giving the reader a brief introduction to the tactics of Napoleonic armies, explaining the purpose of line, column and square, the flanking manoevre, use of the reverse slope, the use of Cavalry V Infantry etc. A really wonderful book!


Not even half of the story

by T. Graczewski "tgraczewski"
(3/5)

Napoleon's decision to invade and occupy Spain in 1808 was arguably his greatest strategic political and military blunder. The Russian campaign of 1812 may have cost Napoleon more in terms of men and resources, but the Emperor was perfectly cognizant of the tremendous risk involved in taking on Tsar Alexander and collected an invasion force of three-quarters of a million men for the task, a staggering number for the period. In contrast to Russia, Napoleon believed that he could easily take Spain in a few months with 12,000 men. A quick and easy victory in Spain and Portugal, it was thought, would shore-up the continental system of keeping British goods out of Europe while providing Paris with a major source of hard currency infusion from the New World gold and silver mines. Far from being the cake walk envisioned, however, the Peninsular War dragged on for six years, cost France 150,000 casualties, inspired resistance and revolt across the empire and failed to generate any meaningful revenues for France. Like the kidnapping and execution of Duc d'Enghien in 1804, the decision to overthrow Spanish King Charles IV in 1808 was "worse than a crime; it was a mistake."For modern strategists, the French experience on the Iberian Peninsula from 1808 to 1814 is the most compelling and enduring case study from the Napoleonic Era. The classic victories of Rivoli, Austerlitz, and Wagram may be interesting reading and make for satisfying staff rides, but they have limited, if any, contemporary applicability. The story of the Spanish insurrection and the frustration of the Imperial French forces in combating it, however, are as relevant today as the case studies of the British in Malaysia or the French in Algeria, which have grown in popularity as the US struggles to impose order in Iraq and Afghanistan.Unfortunately, this much heralded military history by Oxford professor David Gates suffers from a too narrow focus on conventional military operations. His narrative describes in some detail and largely exclusively the military engagements between Wellington and the French forces under Junot, Soult, Massena and other marshals unlucky enough to be sent to Spain by Napoleon. "The Spanish Ulcer" does not address the social, political or economic dimensions of the Spanish insurrection, and the final product suffers because of it. Imagine reading a history of the Vietnam War that only deals with the conventional engagements between the US Army and regular North Vietnamese forces and treats the Viet Cong and domestic pressures in America as outside the scope of the book. That is what this book is like, and it is incredibly disappointing.Those gripes aside, Gates does highlight a few points that are worth emphasizing. First, the regular Spanish forces contributed much more to the overall success against the French than is often noted. Napoleon invaded many countries where the local army just folded after suffering initial defeat; the Spanish showed up, fought, and died for many years and after many defeats. Gates argues rather persuasively that it was the Spanish and Portuguese forces that enabled Wellington to achieve his victories, if for no other reason than they enabled his rather small force of some 40,000 men to remain focused on aggressive, offensive operations and not garrison duty or other necessary but essentially defensive tasks. Second, British sea power played a critical role in defeating the French in Spain. The peninsula was a logistical nightmare and the British navy was able to keep victuals flowing to English forces while landing amphibious strike forces anywhere along the coast line to harass the French. Third, the allies benefited from a unity of command under a competent leader, Wellington, while the French struggled to maintain command-and-control as each commander was supreme in his military district, while the power and influence of Napoleon's brother, King Joseph, in Madrid, was limited and ineffective. Finally, Gates stresses the intelligence advantage that Wellington and the allies possessed throughout the conflict, which is rather standard for local forces in insurgencies. One of Napoleon's greatest strengths in his campaigns with the Grand Army in Europe was his use of cavalry and the intelligence edge it gave him. His forces in Spain, on the other hand, where the population was hostile and the terrain could not support large cavalry forces, were effectively blind and could not communicate with forces only a day or two away.In sum, if you are looking for a crisp and decently readable account of Wellington's conventional operations in the Peninsular War this book will do. If you are interested in historical case studies on counter insurgency campaigns that provide a broad and nuanced view of the conflict, such as Alistair Horne's "A Savage War of Peace," then "The Spanish Ulcer" is not to be recommended.


For academics, military and war gamers, not for the casual reader

by William S. Grass "Military history enthusiast"
(5/5)

Gates' Spanish Ulcer is a one-volume history of the Peninsular War waged by France in Spain from 1808-1814. It covers all operations in this complicated conflict and contains a map every three or four pages. There is plenty here for the academic doing research, the professional military person learning the origins of guerilla, or 4th generation warfare, or the war gamer who wants to know the terrain and order of battle for a particular engagement. For the casual reader such as myself, however, the narrative is too dense and the descriptions of operations too detailed. I would have personally preferred an account that either focuses biographically on Wellington or the French marshals, or gives a smoother narrative of developments. Such was not Gates' goal, so I won't subtract any stars just because I chose the wrong book on the Peninsular War for myself. The Spanish Ulcer certainly deserves five stars for hitting the mark for those more specialized purposes.


Best Sellers
Product Image

Paul Newman: A Lif

(4.3/5)

$9.99

Product Image

The Red Tent: A No

(4.2/5)

$8.99

Product Image

Washington's Cross

(4.7/5)

$5.37

Product Image

Dog Company: The B

(4.3/5)

$10.79

Product Image

Dearie: The Remark

(4.3/5)

$9.99

Product Image

Give Me Tomorrow

(4.7/5)

$9.99

User who like this book also like